Your Daily Phil: In her new role combatting antisemitism, Clara Scheinmann plans to score points for the Jewish people
Good Thursday morning!
The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s monthly review of economic indicators highlighted worrisome developments for fundraisers, although overall economic growth remained strong.
Consumer confidence fell 6.2 points in May compared to April on the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Unemployment remained at about 6%, while in the months before the pandemic, it was about 3.5%. Almost 10 million people remain unemployed.
Job Creators Network, a nonprofit representing small businesses whose founders include billionaire philanthropist Bernie Marcus, has sued Major League Baseball and its players’ union over the decision to move the All-Star Game to Denver from Atlanta due to Georgia’s new voting laws. Job Creators Network is seeking $100 million of damages for businesses and $1 billion in punitive damages.
ANSWERING THE CALL
In her new role, Clara Scheinmann plans to score points for the Jewish people
Clara Scheinmann started her job at the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas that spurred both antisemitic violence and a surge in online hate. Now, the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas called on May 21 is holding, and Scheinmann feels the experience has accelerated her thinking about the foundation’s strategy, she told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.
The only way to win: “This is a football analogy,” she said, evoking Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who founded the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism in June 2019. “I feel like right now we’re on defense. The Jewish people [are] on defense, and our defense is a little slow. The only way to win the game is to score points.” She and the foundation responded to the situation under the umbrella of their existing social media campaign, Together Beat Hate, which launched last summer. They created several social media posts that tried to cool the online temperature by urging social media users to be leery of simplistic rhetoric. “I took that deep breath, and knew that there wouldn’t be a better time than now to be doing this kind of work,” Scheinmann said.
Taking the torch: Born and raised in Boston, Scheinmann graduated from The George Washington University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and affairs. She has always felt a sense of responsibility for the Jewish people and the state of Israel that she attributes to her family history. All four of her grandparents were refugees. Her mother was born in Tunisia, and immigrated to France as a young child with her parents. Her paternal grandmother was a member of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force, and her paternal grandfather, Andre Scheinmann, was a French partisan who led over 300 spies and sabotaged rail lines. He was arrested and spent years in prison before being liberated by American forces at Dachau. “This job does feel like a passing of the baton, although it’s an arena that looks very different from that of my grandparents,” Scheinmann said.
The impressionable middle: Together Beat Hate is the foundation’s first public initiative, based on research it conducted that found that 35% of people between the ages of 18 and 35 don’t know that antisemitism is a problem. “That’s where we think the opportunity is — those people in the middle who are impressionable and don’t have that awareness,” Scheinmann said. Together Beat Hate has published almost 500 pieces of social media content since its launch. Kraft announced the formation of the foundation during the speech in which he accepted the Genesis Award, a $1 million prize most often awarded to wealthy members of the Jewish community who then use the funds to support existing philanthropic efforts or create new ones. Kraft committed $20 million to the foundation, which now has about $50 million in funding, including $30 million from other donors, Scheinmann said.
Day school strategic planning in a post-COVID environment: A time to restart, reboot and recharge
“As our Jewish day schools and yeshivot experience a return to a level of post-pandemic normalcy, they will be facing a host of significant organizational leadership challenges,” writes Dr. Chaim Botwinick, principal of the Hebrew Academy in Margate, Fla., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Realignment: “Although many of our day schools are resilient, it is unrealistic to expect that all of our schools will be able to proactively and successfully transition from pandemic mode restrictions to a level of normalcy without some form of institutional ‘realignment.’ This realignment will require proactive leadership challenges and approaches, including a deep-dive into a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the school’s programmatic and operational viability, effectiveness and sustainability, as well the school’s vision for a path forward.”
Proactive approach: “In light of these realities, and as our schools begin to pivot to ‘modified normal’ operations with reduced restrictions, school leaders will be challenged to recalibrate, realign and redirect their expectations, modes of operation and direction.”
Jews (still) not in the pews
“American Jews need opportunities – lots of them – to celebrate with, speak with and learn from each other, not within the silos of their own proclivities, but with the ‘others’ within our midst,” writes Rabbi David Singer, executive director of Limmud North America, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
False narrative: “In many regards, not much has changed since the 2013 study. Ours is an increasingly diverse community, with diverging proclivities and attachments. There is no one way to be an American Jew. The narrative of a unified, united community, assumed and internalized by so many of us, is a fiction. Most Jews do not join synagogues. An increasing number of Jews do not even consider themselves Jewish by religion.”
New opportunities: “What are we to do with Pew? Our options are not only to prognosticate or pontificate. The Pew Survey presents us with a rare opportunity to look reality in its eye and chart paths forward that intimately meet the needs of the American Jewish community today while pushing it toward a better, more thriving, version of itself in the future.”
Game of Life: The Jewish Standard’s Jonathan Lazarus dives into the personal and professional trajectories of Omega Advisors chairman and CEO Leon Cooperman, the 77-year-old investor and philanthropist. “Although two of Mr. Cooperman’s principles — his reliance on rigorous analysis and research, and his determination to follow his intuition and act on hunches —seem to be contradictory, he followed them both, and they worked consistently well for him.” [JewishStandard]
Bias Training: In the Harvard Business Review, Torben Emmerling, Alessandro Paul and Daniel Seyffardt urge managers who are responsible for remote employees to understand that this new way of working can make supervisors more susceptible to common biases. The primary challenge lies in the relative dearth of information and interaction in a remote environment, which can cause people to rely too heavily on their own instincts both when making decisions and when trying to interpret other people’s behavior. “Get yourself a devil’s advocate, tasked with challenging your perspective and testing the strength of your argumentation,” the authors recommend. “A useful side effect of this approach is that it trains critical thinking within the team.” [HBR]
False Dichotomy: Philanthropists and foundations should integrate their financial management with their grant-making in order to put all the organization’s assets at the service of its mission, suggests Sonia Kowal in a blog post on the website of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Donors tend to be inspired by this more holistic mode of giving, which can include such actions as rewriting policy statements to ensure that no investments undermine the work of grantees and hiring new advisors. “Ask pointed questions and know exactly what securities you own and what activities you support in your portfolios,” Kowal writes. [CenterEffectivePhilanthropy]
Best Practices: In Project Syndicate, Alex Friedman and Julie Sunderland use the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates, who founded the world’s largest charitable foundation, as an opportunity to suggest philanthropic reforms inspired by the business world. Like public companies, charitable organizations should establish a board of directors and file detailed annual reports that specify the foundation’s decision-making process, the impact of those decisions and possible future risks. “We would all benefit from focusing less on salacious gossip about their personal lives and more on how to take a good foundation model and make it better,” Friedman and Sunerland conclude. [ProjectSyndicate]
New Day: Catholic organizations such as Franciscan Action Network and New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, which work on environmental issues, are feeling optimistic about the Biden administration, reports Dennis Sadowski in the National Catholic Reporter. The groups were energized by executive orders signed by President Joe Biden that reduce fossil fuel dependence, promote land and water conservation and create jobs in environment-related fields. “What’s changed is the lens of how we approach this,” Franciscan Sr. Joan Brown told Sadowski. “It’s not just environmentalists saying that we need to do this … We’re also addressing economic disparity.” [NCR]
Word on the Street
Roger Hertog announced he will step down later this year as chairman of the Tikvah Fund and that Elliott Abrams will become the next chairman… The Australian Jewish Funders recently gifted 100 Jewish nonprofits across the country access to a full year of professional services… Following a successful fundraising drive by the local community, Leeds is set to be the second city in the north of England to house an eruv… Social giving is on the rise, particularly among younger donors and minority donors, according to a new survey of donor behaviors during the 12 months after the pandemic was declared… Belev Echad, a nonprofit that supports wounded Israel Defense Forces veterans, is giving 150 soldiers injured in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas a weekend retreat at a hotel in Jerusalem…
Pic of the Day
Hillel Simferopol, on the Crimean Peninsula, just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Chief cantor of Vienna, Austria’s Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, Shmuel Barzilai……
Attorney, law professor and businesswoman, Jan Schneider… Algerian-born French citizen and Tel Aviv-based attorney, elected in 2012 to serve as an overseas representative to the French parliament representing the southern Mediterranean region, Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou… First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden… Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he heads its program in Judezmo (or Ladino) studies, David Monson Bunis… President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston since 2007, he has worked there since 1985, Eric S. Rosengren… Rabbi at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles since 1987, he became senior rabbi in 2003, Steve Leder… Member of the British Parliament for the Conservative Party, Jonathan Djanogly… U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, Judge Ronnie Abrams… CEO of Ridgeback Communications, Andrew Samuel Weinstein… Executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, Jason Moss… Actress best known for her role as Nicole Walker on the NBC’s daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, Arianne Zucker… Los Angeles-based PR consultant at Winning Progressive, Eric M. Schmeltzer… Director of annual giving and alumni relations at the San Francisco Day School, Lauren Becker… Director of events and strategic partnerships at Not Impossible Labs, Sophie Oreck… National field director at Israel on Campus Coalition, Brandon Beigler… DC-based reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Hackman…
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